How Often Does Trader Joe's Restock Its Shelves?

Trader Joe's shelves
Trader Joe's shelves - Jaclyn Vernace/Shutterstock

It is no secret that Trader Joe's is home to a wide variety of fun and fascinating products. There is a long-running joke amongst TJ's fans that they cannot go shopping for "real groceries" because there are so many specialty snacks and frozen foods that take up all the room in their carts. Whether you are making a trip to Trader Joe's for the newest seasonal treat or to stock up on traditional pantry staples and fresh produce that are long-standing residents of the TJ shelves, it is important to know how frequently the store replenishes its new and returning products.

Trader Joe's has a unique way of stocking shelves with specialty items and seasonal goodies that customers are encouraged to reach for any time they find it -- you never know when your favorite product will get discontinued. But it isn't just the low-selling products and limited-time popular picks that have a short shelf life (pun intended). Trader Joe's is constantly restocking its entire inventory and changing out merchandise to keep groceries fresh and encourage shoppers to come back for its limited stock. Trader Joe's employees put new products on the sales floor daily to ensure customers receive the highest quality groceries possible. However, if you hope to get your hands on the freshest possible produce and perishables, you may consider visiting Trader Joe's early in the day.

Read more: 22 Discontinued Trader Joe's Items We're Probably Not Getting Back

Produce Is Restocked Each Morning

Trader Joe's produce section
Trader Joe's produce section - Jeff Bukowski/Shutterstock

If you hope to get the freshest produce possible, try shopping at Trader Joe's in the morning. Trader Joe's shopping experts Rachael Engelhardt and Madeline Thomas told EatingWell that most locations replenish stock on perishables overnight and in the early morning each day. You may also see employees restocking during shopping hours if certain products are running low and stock is still available to display from the morning's shipment. Experienced shoppers and store managers have shared that the best days of the week to shop at Trader Joe's are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Weekends are extremely popular shopping days, and stock dwindles much quicker, even with restocks happening earlier in the day. If you must shop on the weekends, try arriving as close to opening as possible when shelves have been freshly filled.

Not only will you have your pick of fresh products if you arrive during the early hours, but you will also encounter less traffic when navigating each aisle. If you are lucky enough to find some free time between 8 and 10 a.m. on weekday mornings, you will likely score all your favorite Trader Joe's products and have your first dibs on freshly stocked produce. If you show up later in the day, odds are the more popular items will have been cleared off of shelves.

At Trader Joe's, What You See Is What You Get

Trader Joe's product shelf
Trader Joe's product shelf - Jaclyn Vernace/Shutterstock

Have you ever shown up to Trader Joe's with a handful of products on your shopping list that you are dying to try, only to discover that they have been completely cleared off of shelves? Most loyal TJ shoppers have experienced this disappointment, which feels doubly painful after spending what felt like hours hunting down a parking space. It may seem like Trader Joe's decides to discontinue your favorite products out of spite, but more often than not, you simply cannot find your favorite product on shelves because the location has run out of stock on that particular day.

Unlike many major grocery retailers, Trader Joe's places a limited stock order each day and assembles whatever stock it is given onto shelves, per CNBC. It rarely has the items you are looking for in the back. According to a Reddit user and long-time Trader Joe's employee, most locations don't even have a back stockroom to look into. This allows the grocery store to keep a wide variety of items at a cost-effective price for consumers, but it also creates slight anxiety for shoppers who can't make it to the store until mid-afternoon. If there is a Trader Joe's product you are dying to try, it is highly recommended that you show up as early as you can when shelves are most likely to be fully stocked to ensure you get you find everything on your shopping list.

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